How to Argue about the Immigration Mess

Who gets to join the people, and how, is a question as old as Athens. It’s sophomoric to pretend the issue doesn’t exist for us.

Migrants held in temporary fencing underneath the Paso Del Norte Bridge await processing on March 28, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. Christ Chavez/Getty Images.

Migrants held in temporary fencing underneath the Paso Del Norte Bridge await processing on March 28, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. Christ Chavez/Getty Images.

Last Word
March 29 2019
About the author

Nicholas M. Gallagher, a third-year student at the New York University School of Law, is a former staff writer at the American Interest, where he concentrated mainly on immigration issues.


I’m grateful to Christopher Caldwell, Linda Chavez, and Daniel Johnson for their thoughtful, and thought-provoking, responses to my essay in Mosaic on America’s immigration woes. Especially heartening is their evidently broad agreement with me that the distinction between migrants and refugees is analytically outmoded and in need of rethinking as a tool of law. I also greatly appreciate the focus on history and the international perspective that the respondents bring to bear.

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More about: Immigration, Politics & Current Affairs